“There are three areas in which the person who would be wise and good must be trained. The first has to do with desires and aversions–that a person may never miss the mark in desires nor fall into what repels them. The second has to do with impulses to act and not to act–and more broadly, with duty–that a person may act deliberately for good reasons and not carelessly. The third has to do with freedom from deception and composure and the whole area of judgment, the assent our mind gives to its perceptions. Of these areas, the chief and most urgent is the first which has to do with the passions, for strong emotions arise only when we fail in our desires and aversions.” ~ Epictetus, Discourses, 3.2.1-3a
There is a lost to take in here. But, it all comes back to one thing – mindfulness.
First, we need to consider what we desire and what we should be averse to. Why is it that we desire a particular thing. Is it something that is fulfilling and will have a lasting affect for you? Or is it just a fad, or something you want just to “keep up with the Joneses”? We want to stay away from things that hold us back.
Next, we should make conscious decisions and not be reckless. We need to do things for the right reasons. This is difficult for me because I can be pretty impulsive. Sometimes it works out, but most times my time could have been better well spent. It’s important to stop, pause, and think.
Finally, we should not rush to judgement. We should see things clearly and from all sides before we cast judgement on something. It is freeing to see the big picture and have clarity.